Why Individuals Matter


I’m one of those people who always has something on in the house. The hum of a washing machine, the droning of the news on the television, talk radio, or my favorite 80’s playlist on my iPod sets me at ease; it’s the silence that rattles me. As I write this I purposefully have everything turned off. Maybe I should be rattled for a change, because complacency will be our downfall.

The mother of an autistic child was left a letter from a neighbor complaining about her special needs child. I won’t repeat the entire letter as it is vile, but in summary the neighbor complains about the “noises” the child makes when he’s outside. Her annoyance at hearing this child has led her to tell this woman she should take whatever “non-retarded” body parts her child has and donate them to science”. She concludes by telling the mother to move into a trailer in the woods with her child so no one would have to contend with her family. As I read the letter I could feel the hate this woman has for her neighbor and this child, but more than hate it was a complete lack of empathy for a fellow human being. It was the same kind of category we assign serial killers. The letter was signed, “One pissed off mother”. A mother wrote this letter.

In Oklahoma three teenagers sat idle. Seemingly not accountable to anyone, no expectation to come home and do chores, no homework, no one was even wondering where they were or what they were doing. Somehow, sometime these three obtained a firearm and decided to kill someone because, “they were bored”. They found Christopher Lane, a 22 year old Australian student out for a jog and without provocation they shot him in the head, killing him. The three murderers were later arrested driving the same car they used to facilitate the “drive by”. Witnesses report at least one of the teens was seen laughing and dancing as he was brought into the jail. Once again, is it hatred or is it something worse that drove these killers?

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